Signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Typically, a traumatic brain injury is due to a violent blow to the head caused by a car accident, fall, or other trauma. Although a mild traumatic brain injury may only have temporary effects on the cells of the brain, a more severe injury can result in torn tissue, contusions, and serious physical damage to the brain. If left untreated, these injuries can cause permanent brain damage. The doctors at Winchester Neurological Consultants specialize in the treatment of traumatic brain injury.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
Patients who have suffered head trauma and experience one or more of the following symptoms should seek medical advice as soon as possible. Bear in mind that in some cases symptoms will appear immediately, while in other cases, they may not appear until days or weeks after the traumatic event.
- Brief loss of consciousness
- Feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused
- Blurred vision, ringing in the ears
- Loss of smell
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sudden drowsiness
- Speech difficulties
- Loss of balance
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Mood swings
- Anxiety or depression
Symptoms of more severe brain trauma may include:
- Loss of consciousness for up to several hours
- Persistent headache
- Seizures or convulsions
- Pupil dilation
- Ringling or numbness in the extremities
- Severe confusion
- Slurred speech
When You Should See a Doctor
Traumatic events that may lead to brain injury include:
- Falls: from a roof, ladder, or from the bath, bed, or stairs.
- A vehicular accident: A collision involving one or more motorcycles, bicycles, cars, or trucks or a vehicle and a pedestrian.
- A sports injury: Traumatic brain injuries are common in several sports including boxing, football, skateboarding, hockey, and soccer.
If you live in Winchester and you think you may be suffering from a brain injury, call Winchester Neurological Consultants at (540) 667-1828 to schedule an appointment.
Here are some simple ways to boost your memory.
If you find yourself forgetting names or where you put your keys you may just assume it’s all a part of getting older; however, it’s never too early to find new ways to keep your brain engaged and your memory sharp, and our Winchester, VA, neurologists can help. With the number of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia cases increasing in the US, it’s important that we recognize what we can do to reduce our risk.
Always Challenge Yourself
As you might imagine, people who are constantly learning are more likely to preserve memory and cognitive function as they get older. Your brain is a muscle and you have to work it out in order to keep it working optimally. This means keeping it stimulated through constant learning. No, you don’t have to necessarily go back to school to keep your brain active. You can simply,
- Read a book
- Learn a new hobby
- Play games
- Do a crossword or puzzles
- Build or craft
- Learn a new language
- Take an online course
Exercise isn’t just great for your health but also your memory. After all, a healthy heart also means a healthy mind, as the heart is the one pumping blood and oxygen to the brain to keep it healthy. People with heart problems are more at risk for cognitive decline, and one of the best ways to prevent both cardiovascular disease and memory loss is by getting regular exercise.
Make Sleep a Priority
A lack of sleep won’t just make you irritable or foggy-headed while at work, studies have found that a lack of sleep is similar to being under the influence. As you can imagine, long-term or chronic sleep problems can severely impact memory and affect how your brain functions.
It’s important that you are getting anywhere from 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. If you are having trouble sleeping or suspect that you might have sleep apnea consult with our Winchester, VA, neurologist about a sleep study.
Take Time to Meditate
Spending just 20 minutes each day meditating may be all you need to boost blood flow to the brain, which can greatly enhance memory and may even reverse early signs of memory loss in adults. Most people see an improvement in just eight weeks.
If you are noticing memory problems in you or someone you love, talk to a qualified medical professional. Call Winchester Neurological Consultants at (540) 667-1828 to learn more about the services we offer or to schedule an evaluation with one of our Winchester, VA, neurologists.
You're not sleeping well and wondering if you have sleep apnea. Numerous Americans do--22 million, in fact--but many go untreated and suffer poor rest patterns, depression, difficult interpersonal relationships, and more. At Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester VA, your board-certified neurologists test for sleep apnea and help with treatments proven to improve sleep patterns and overall health.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by extremely loud snoring, sudden awakening, and several episodes of breathing cessation during the night. Men 40 and older seem more prone to this diagnosis as do people who are obese, have large neck circumferences, smoke cigarettes, or drink too much alcohol. Sleep apnea falls into three categories:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, in which the tongue and muscles at the back of the throat collapse and block the airway
- Central Sleep Apnea, or CSA, in which the respiratory system and the brain do not communicate properly
- Mixed Sleep Apnea, which combines characteristics of OSA and CSA
All kinds of sleep apnea result in foggy thinking, fatigue, depression, dry mouth, memory issues, irritability, and more. Additionally, sleep apnea contributes to:
- Diabetes (which develops from insulin resistance, reports Healthline)
- Heart attack
- High cholesterol levels and increased liver enzymes
If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your Winchester VA neurologist right away.
At Winchester Neurological Consultants, your board-certified neurologist will review your symptoms and as needed, and perform polysomnography. These monitored studies unravel the complexities of your sleep patterns and pinpoint the cause of your symptoms.
Your physician may prescribe a set of individualized therapies to reduce your snoring and your apneic episodes. Strategies include:
- Losing weight
- Avoiding alcohol and heavy meals before sleeping
- Sleeping on your side instead of your back
- Using CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, which opens your airway with a steady stream of air delivered through a facial mask
- Using oral appliance therapy, customized guards which reposition the bottom jaw and keep the airway open
We want to help
Your neurologists in Winchester VA understand that a good night's sleep is critical to your systemic health and overall well-being. If you or a family member notice your poor sleep pattern and snoring, please contact Winchester Neurological Consultants for a personal consultation on sleep apnea. Don't wait. Phone (540) 667-1828.
Concussions last longer than many people realize, often causing pain, memory problems, dizziness, and other issues for weeks or months. Fortunately, the treatments offered by the neurologists at Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester VA can help you manage your concussion symptoms.
What to do if you have a concussion
You've probably been advised to rest if you have a concussion, and although rest is certainly important, resting alone may not improve all of your symptoms. In addition to headaches, concussions can cause:
- Memory and concentration issues
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Brain fog
- Personality changes
- Smell and taste changes
- Blurred vision
Whether your concussion occurred on the playing field or a result of an accident or blow to the head, proper treatment in Winchester VA can help you avoid long-term effects from your injury.
If your recovery is taking longer than you expected, you may benefit from an evaluation at Winchester Neurological Associates. Your evaluation may include balance/vestibular testing, imPACT or Neurotrax testing, neuroimaging, and cognitive testing.
Your concussion care team will develop a treatment plan for you based on your symptoms and the results of your tests. Your plan may include one or more of these therapies:
- Cognitive Therapy: Cognitive therapy will help you improve your memory, concentration, multi-tasking abilities, time management, and other problem areas.
- Vestibular Therapy: If vertigo, dizziness, or lightheadedness keep you from doing the things you want to do, vestibular rehabilitation can be helpful. The therapy may include gaze stabilization exercises to help you control your eye movements and decrease dizziness and reading issues. Habituation, balance, and exertional training exercises may also help improve coordination and reduce dizziness and headaches.
- Physical Therapy: Chronic headaches can sometimes be caused by neck injuries that occurred when you suffered your concussion. Physical therapy can help relieve neck pain and headaches and may also help you improve your balance.
- Psychological Counseling: Dealing with the ongoing physical and mental effects of a concussion can be challenging. You'll learn relaxation techniques and skills that will improve your self-confidence and your ability to cope with your symptoms during counseling sessions.
Has your concussion changed your life? Call your neurologists in Winchester VA at Winchester Neurological Associates at (540) 667-1828 to schedule an appointment.
Does your epilepsy medication make you feel drowsy or nauseated, or even worse, fail to control your seizures? Treatment approaches that work well for one patient aren't necessarily the best choices for other patients. Your Winchester VA neurologists at Winchester Neurological Consultants offer treatments tailored to your condition and needs.
How to find the best treatments for you
Epilepsy doesn't just cause seizures but may increase your risk for depression and anxiety, mood and memory issues, fertility problems, learning disabilities, and migraines. The disorder can affect every area of your life from your social life to your ability to drive or work.
Treating epilepsy and the complications and challenges that can occur if you have the disorder requires a comprehensive treatment method and consultations with a variety of medical professionals. Fortunately, epilepsy centers offer access to a team of experts that includes neurologists, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, epileptologists, and neurosurgeons. This includes the office in Winchester VA.
Your team will consider your lifestyle, the type of seizures you have, the medications and treatments you've tried before, and your general medical history when making treatment recommendations. During your visit to the Winchester epilepsy center, you'll also discuss your treatment goals. In addition to preventing seizures, you may also want to increase your energy level or improve your ability to focus at work or school.
Treatments may include:
- Medications: Your treatment may involve one or two anti-seizure medications. Your doctor will weigh the effectiveness of the medication with possible side effects before prescribing medications.
- Dietary Changes: The foods you eat may play a role in your seizures. Some people who have epilepsy benefit from following certain diets, including the Low Glycemic Index Diet, Modified Atkins Diet, or Keto Diet.
- Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, and other therapies can help you cope with your condition and make changes that will improve your life.
- Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS): Implanted under the skin in your chest, the VNS device sends mild electrical impulses to the brain via the vagus nerve. These impulses prevent seizures.
- Clinical Research Trials: When you're a patient at an epilepsy center, you may be eligible to participate in research trials to test the latest epilepsy treatments.
- Surgery: Surgery might be recommended if you don't notice an improvement in your symptoms after trying other treatments.
Are you unhappy with your current epilepsy treatment? Call your neurologists in Winchester VA at Winchester Neurological Consultants at (540) 667-1828 to schedule your appointment.
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